This past Monday, I was brought up to speed on the situation of schools in the Philippines. Last week was the start of the school year here and bringing with it, was the start of the World Bank funded k-12 program. Before, school was only k-10, as middle school didn’t exist. In the current format of the new program, there are 6 years of elementary schooling and 6 years of high school. The additional two years will be primarily vocational courses designed to give students a boost in their chosen career paths.
Schooling and free education (through high school) is deemed a human right by the UN. Sadly this is a human right that most Filipinos cannot afford due to no viable education budget in the national governments yearly expenditures.
Education at government public schools is a privilege that few can afford. Many communities rely on missionary, NGO and organization supported schools. Unfortunately many of these schools, teachers and students, are coming under psychological and physical attack in recent years by military and paramilitary forces who seek to ‘defend’ investor’s interest in Lumad communities. Communities that are served by these schools.
Our meeting today was a brief overview of the conference/dialogue that Kalumaran and Inpeace are holding on July 8th to 10th. 75 invites have been issued to various schools, teachers, students and community leaders who have been victims of harassment and attack.
We reviewed the concept letter and than took a lunch break. As InPeace and Kalumaran have no budget for this program (it being a reaction to a worsening of events), my task for the upcoming days is to find education and development foundations that we could solicit for financial support.
I spent the rest of the workday yesterday searching and reading through many foundations sites and selecting those that would be remotely appropriate. Now I am focusing on narrowing my search and hopefully I’ll have a list of foundations we can apply to for finance either tomorrow or Thursday.
Not all of my days are like this, but since there is a need today for this kind of work, it’s the work that I’m doing.